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Tonia Hughes’ photography and video installations have been shown in international, national, and regional exhibitions. As demonstrated with her most recent solo exhibition, BODIES, much of her work is rooted in socio-political discourse. Yet, while BODIES illustrates a feminist critique of the consequences of unrealistic body images and societal constructs of beauty, her work continues to express a broad range of social, psychological, political and academic research. Another example of her interest can be noted in her work from Tonia Hughes: Recent Works. This body of work included: sound bites, videos, photographs, mixed media pieces, and collections of found objects, and was an expression of Hughes’ personal experiences. The gallery was divided into two sections. The first section exhibited a collection of work entitled Indulging in Ashes that was intended to pose questions regarding life, death, and the connection between the two. While the second segment of the gallery displayed a body of work collectively entitled The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. The latter being Hughes’ technical experimentation of photographic lithographs printed on handmade paper embedded with the artist’s hair and finger nails, and was a visual demonstration designed to reflect on the suffering of victims of domestic violence. The exhibition was shown in coordination with Atlanta Celebrates Photography at the Rankin Photography Center in Columbus, Georgia.
In addition to her creations in visual arts, Hughes continues her research in Women’s Studies, specifically on the topics of queer theory, gender and sexuality. This research serves as a foundation for the visual art she typically creates. As an extension of her work, she often lectures for the Women’s Studies program at Georgia Southwestern State University and participates in public discussion panels with the Psychology/Sociology Department at GSW on topics relating to the queer community.
Hughes was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. She grew up in the southeastern region of the United States, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Columbus State University in 2004. In 2008, she completed her MFA in photography at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Hughes has been the honored recipient of a Faculty Development Grant from Georgia Southwestern State University and was awarded the Gold Award from The Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College. She has been teaching Photography and Digital Arts as a Senior Lecturer at Georgia Southwestern State University since January 2009 and currently resides in Americus, Georgia.